Pat Carson, beloved educator at LHS, wins FCPS Substitute of the Year

Alex Ismael

by Emily Reed and Ethan Hart

 One of the most requested substitute teachers at Linganore, Pat Carson’s show of professionalism and kindness brings education to a whole new level in the classroom.

But Carson is not just a substitute teacher; she is “the” FCPS Substitute Teacher of the Year 2017.

On May 24, Carson was surprised by her peers and the Personnel Officer of Substitute Teachers for FCPS Anne Paxton with the Substitute Teacher of the Year award.

Paxton created this award because she felt that substitute teachers don’t get the recognition they deserve. In its first year, there were 16 nominations reviewed by a panel of judges, and Carson was chosen.

Pat Carson receives her award from Anne Paxton.

Carson is grateful to be the recipient of this award. Along with the award, she was given a small Linganore pin as a token of appreciation and she promptly pinned it on her Lancer lanyard.  Carson will be receiving a cash reward and a trophy recognizing her award at the FCPS Board of Education meeting on June 14th.

The School Culture Committee met in the fall to discuss potential nominations for this award. There were a dozen responses to the staff request, and there was overwhelming support for Carson.

Assistant principal Andrew McWilliams prepared written statements from the teachers  and submitted the packet to FCPS.

McWilliams believes substitute teachers have an important job filling in when the regular teacher isn’t there. Good substitutes move students forward in the curriculum when the teacher is absent.

Andrew McWilliams gives the award to Pat Carson.

McWilliams said, “[Carson is] By far the most respected and most requested substitute.”

Carson has served as a sub for over 35 staff members in her time.  The surprise in the media center included many teachers who came to wish her well in person.

“Pat is a “pro.” She is efficient and professional, while at the same time displaying a quick sense of humor and interest in the students. I can think of no one I would rather have substitute for me,” said Jane Mckenzie, special education teacher, in her nomination letter.

“Having Pat as a sub isn’t a ‘throw away’ day. She genuinely likes students and they genuinely like her. She has an incredibly positive attitude,” said social studies teacher Jamie Hendi in her letter nominating Carson.

In her nomination letter, Principal Nancy Doll said, “Whether she receives the recognition from FCPS or not, Pat Carson is Linganore High School’s Substitute of the Year.”

The difficult job of a a substitute teacher is often overlooked. Paxton said,  “In the length of a student’s learning from Kindergarten through 12th grade, you have a substitute for a year.  They have to be flexible, knowledgeable, and love students, which is very important.”

Carson  came out of retirement to return to substitute teaching. After being retired for six months, she saw an ad in the paper requesting Linganore substitutes. She decided to apply because she was bored and there was “only so much sitting around that I could do.”

Carson has a special connection to Linganore since she’s lived 2.7 miles away since 1979. All five of her children are LHS graduates. For Carson, this was the first school she connected with after leaving big city life in Chicago.

Carson sees her job as a substitute as another cog in the machine that she is eager to be a part of.

“This job isn’t for everyone. If you like high school students, being a part of an educational community, Linganore is a great school to substitute at because it’s filled with wonderful people and it’s why I enjoy coming,” said Carson.

To learn more about Pat Carson, read Matt Gelhard’s story here.